Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fructose may up heart disease risk factors (USA)

Adults who ate high fructose corn syrup for two weeks increased their cholesterol and triglycerides levels, U.S. researchers say. Kimber Stanhope of the University of California, Davis, says the American Heart Association recommends that people consume only 5 percent of calories as added sugar. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggest an upper limit of 25 percent or less of daily calories consumed as added sugar. In this study, researchers examined 48 adults ages 18-40 and compared the effects of consuming 25 percent of one's daily calorie requirement as glucose, fructose or high fructose corn syrup on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Study participants consumed high fructose corn syrup as 25 percent of their daily calories - UPI

Health Canada reviewing heart-related safety of Multaq

Health Canada is reviewing the heart-related safety of the prescription drug Multaq (the brand name for dronedarone). Multaq is used to reduce the risk of hospitalisation due to "atrial fibrillation," which is an abnormal heart rhythm

Salisbury doctor found guilty of health care fraud (USA)

A Salisbury cardiologist faces as many as 35 years in prison after a federal jury this week found him guilty of six counts of health care fraud. A federal jury in Baltimore on Tuesday convicted John R. McLean, 59, of Salisbury, on six healthcare fraud offenses in connection with a scheme during which he submitted insurance claims for inserting unnecessary cardiac stents, ordered unnecessary tests and made false entries in patient medical records in order to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers. McLean faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for health care fraud and five years for each of five counts of making false statements related to health care matters. The government is also seeking a forfeiture of over $700,000 believed to be the proceeds of the scheme

Statin use not linked to cancer, based on EMR data

Statins, a drug class administered to patients as an attempt to foil cardiovascular events, was not linked to an increased risk of cancer, according to the results of a retrospective analysis of more than 45,000 patients. The study, published in the July 26 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, may provide answers to the ongoing debate as to whether or not statins are linked to cancer

Strokes rise among pregnant women, new moms; obesity, high blood pressure may be reasons

Strokes rise among pregnant women, new moms; obesity, high blood pressure may be reasonsStrokes have spiked in the U.S. among pregnant women and new mothers, probably because more of them are obese and suffering from high blood pressure and heart disease, researchers report. Hospitalizations for pregnancy-related strokes and "mini strokes" jumped from about 4,100 in 1994-95 to around 6,300 in 2006-07, a 54 percent increase, researchers said, extrapolating from figures in a large federal database. "That is a very, very alarm-raising statistic that we need to take extremely seriously," said Dr. Olajide Williams, a neurologist at Columbia University and Harlem Hospital and an American Stroke Association spokesman. "We need to be more aggressive in screening these women for these risk factors." - AP

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Video: Need to improve healthcare for larger patients (UK)

The NHS is poorly prepared to treat obese patients, an analysis of patient safety records suggests. The Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust team reviewed nearly 400 cases submitted to the National Patient Safety Agency to identify what mistakes were being made. The researchers highlighted a range of issues, including problems with drug doses, ventilation and surgery. Kathryn Szrodecki, who campaigns on behalf of overweight people, and GP Dr Rosemary Leonard, discuss the healthcare needs of larger patients - BBC

FDA approves blood-thinning drug Brilinta to treat acute coronary syndromes (USA)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the blood-thinning drug Brilinta (ticagrelor) to reduce cardiovascular death and heart attack in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). ACS includes a group of symptoms for any condition, such as unstable angina or heart attack, that could result from reduced blood flow to the heart. Brilinta works by preventing the formation of new blood clots, thus maintaining blood flow in the body to help reduce the risk of another cardiovascular event. Brilinta has been studied in combination with aspirin. A boxed warning to health care professionals and patients warns that aspirin doses above 100 milligrams per day decrease the effectiveness of the medication

Friday, July 22, 2011

Heart patients told 'stay on aspirin' (UK)

Heart disease patients are being urged to keep taking aspirin after a study has found stopping the drug raises heart attack risk by nearly two-thirds. Against medical advice, up to half of long-term users are believed to stop taking aspirin, researchers say in the British Medical Journal. And this puts them at a 60% greater risk of a non-fatal heart attack. The findings come from a UK database of nearly 40,000 patients who had been prescribed the drug by their doctor - BBC

Friday, July 15, 2011

Diesel fume particles 'could raise heart attack risks' (UK)

Diesel fume particles 'could raise heart attack risks' (UK)Chemical particles in diesel exhaust fumes could increase the risk of heart attacks, new research has suggested. Edinburgh University scientists found minuscule particles produced by burning diesel can increase the chance of blood clots forming in arteries. The blood clots can then lead to heart attacks or stroke. The team measured the impact of diesel exhaust fumes on a group of healthy volunteers at levels found in heavily polluted cities. The volunteers' reaction to gases found in diesel fumes, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, were compared with their reactions to tiny chemical particles found in the exhausts. It was found that the particles, and not the gases, impaired the function of blood vessels - BBC

FDA cites higher cancer rate with diabetes drug from Bristol-Myers, AstraZeneca

Federal health regulators have concerns about bladder and breast cancer seen in patients taking an experimental diabetes pill from Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca. The Food and Drug Administration said in an online review Friday that there were more cases of cancer among patients taking the company's drug than those taking a dummy pill. It was not clear whether the higher rate was caused by a statistical fluke or the drug itself. A panel of FDA advisers meets next Tuesday to discuss the drug's safety and effectiveness. Along with cancer, the FDA will also ask the panel to comment on the drug's effects on kidney and liver function. FDA will make the final decision on the drug's approval. Dapagliflozin is a once-a-day pill designed to help type 2 diabetes patients eliminate excess sugar in their urine. It differs from older drugs that decrease the amount of sugar absorbed from food. If approved, Bristol and AstraZeneca's drug would be a new option for diabetics, who must often rotate through several medications to control their disease - AP

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

East Londoners twice as likely to die of heart disease than in Westminster (UK)

East Londoners twice as likely to die of heart disease than in Westminster (UK)Men and women are more likely to die of heart attack in London's deprived East End than anywhere else across the capital, shock figures reveal. Worst area for coronary disease is neighbouring Islington, closely followed by Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Barking & Dagenham where around 100 people in every 100,000 die. Hackney and The City showed 91 people dying, while Newham had 90 - way above the London average of 75 in every 100,000. It compares with just 36 in more affluent areas like Kensington & Chelsea, says the charity Heart UK. The wide variations means a man or woman is three times more likely to die of coronary disease in East London compared to the Royal Borough, or twice as likely compared to Westminster. Now a campaign has been set up by Heart UK with the US-based MSD private healthcare to highlight the geographical variation across London and the rest of the country

Friday, July 8, 2011

Poor countries have disproportionately higher burden of disease from stroke than from heart disease

Countries with lower national income have disproportionately higher rates of death and disability associated with stroke compared with ischemic heart disease, according to a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Together, ischemic heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death worldwide. Ischemic heart disease accounts for 12.2 percent of all deaths and stroke for 9.7 percent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Burden of Disease Program. But the relative rates of death and disability from heart disease and stroke vary considerably from country to country

New videos, website offer important resources for people affected by diabetes (USA)

New videos to help people make lifestyle changes and cope with the demands of diabetes were announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP). The series of three- to five-minute videos, which can be found at address topics such as setting goals to improve health, living with diabetes, finding the support you need, as well as segments on diabetes prevention and physical activity

Stem cell therapy for angina patients

About 250,000 people in Britain suffer from angina, a chronic condition usually caused by heart disease. While many have surgery or take medication, for a significant number this only has a limited effect and they continue to suffer frequent bouts of pain. However, now a US study has found that a novel stem cell technique could markedly improve their quality of life. The method involves patients being injected with a particular type of stem cell harvested from their own bone marrow, which help make blood vessels. A study of 167 patients found that those injected with doses of the CD34+ stem cells went on to report far fewer angina attacks than those given a placebo - The Telegraph

Angioplasty and heart stents overused by many cardiologists: study

About 15 percent of all cardiac stent implants and angioplasty procedures are probably unnecessary, according to the findings of a new study by U.S. researchers. The findings were published this week in the Journal of the American Heart Association, and come at a time when federal investigators in several states are looking into allegations that some doctors performed unnecessary heart stent implant procedures for financial gain. However, the problems with inappropriate heart stents and angioplasty procedures likely extends beyond just a few rogue doctors. Heart stents and angioplasty are procedures meant to prevent heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems in patients with clogged arteries. The procedures are collectively known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)

New procedure treats atrial fibrillation (USA)

Doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are performing a new procedure to treat atrial fibrillation, a common irregular heartbeat. Available at only a handful of U.S. medical centers, this "hybrid" procedure combines minimally invasive surgical techniques with the latest advances in catheter ablation, a technique that applies scars to the heart's inner surface to block signals causing the heart to misfire. The two-pronged approach gives doctors access to both the inside and outside of the heart at the same time, helping to more completely block the erratic electrical signals that cause atrial fibrillation

Lean gene 'linked to heart risk'

Lean gene 'linked to heart risk'Genes that result in a slender figure have been linked to heart disease and type-two diabetes, conditions normally associated with being overweight. A study suggests variants of the IRS1 gene reduce fat under the skin, but not the more dangerous visceral fat around organs such as the heart and liver. The Medical Research Council study, published in Nature Genetics, examined the genes of more than 76,000 people. The link between the genetic variants and the conditions was stronger in men

'Quit smoking' drug linked to heart risk

'Quit smoking' drug linked to heart riskA drug used by smokers to help them quit increases the risk of heart attacks and other serious cardiovascular problems, research says. An international team reviewed studies involving more than 8,000 smokers, and found more of those taking Champix fell ill than those on dummy drugs. The review, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, suggests smokers should not use the drug to stop. But makers Pfizer say it is an "important option" to help people quit. And heart experts stress smoking itself is a major heart disease risk factor. Champix (varenicline) accounted for over 955,000 prescriptions in England last year. It works by cutting cravings, but in the past it has been linked to depression and suicidal thoughts